What’s the Deal With Those Weird Targeted T-Shirts on Facebook?
"Never Underestimate a Woman Born in August who Knits."
"This Forklift Operator Has Anger Issues and a Serious Dislike of Stupid People."
"Don't Mess With A Military Mom with Five Kids and a Guinea Pig."
Ever seen T-shirt designs like this that were, seemingly, made perfectly for you? The fact is- They were. Targeted ads are nothing new. The adage goes: "If you aren't paying for a service, you're not the customer. You're the product." This goes for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many others you might not be aware of. When you use a social media site, it collects information about you to help its advertisers sell things to you that you would actually like.
It can be a good thing, when you're looking for a new pair of boots and Facebook knows that, so it shows you targeted ads to help you on your search (and get a nice click through commission.)
But the weirdest use of this new marketing strategy has to be those targeted T-Shirts you'll see sometimes on social media. You know the one's I'm talking about:
It might be creepy to see the above shirt, right? At first, you might think: "Wow! I am an Air-Force Veteran and, by gosh, I was even born in November. This shirt was made for me!" But then, you start wondering "Okay, but how did they know that about me?" Did you share a Veteran meme? Like a Veteran's Facebook group? You know how everyone wishes you a happy birthday on Facebook? Facebook knows that too.
And it's become a big business. Back in 2011, a veteran in the T-shirt business put together a computer code to create T-shirt designs before they're printed, using generic designs and phrases that can fit with any information they find out about the target demographic. Printing on Demand made this even more possible, and now, you might be able to buy a shirt featuring your exact birth month, hobby, and hair color with one click.